Leading a holistic lifestyle through Ayurveda

Ayurveda Home Cooking Workshop, which took place on 22 July at the Makati Garden Club in Makati City, was not just about discovering culinary treats but also getting introduced to a holistic lifestyle. Ayurveda, after all, is a natural system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago.

The workshop began at 9 a.m. with a 30-minute session on yoga and meditation with Clara Day Herrera, the founder and president of CDH Wellness Corp. and Pillow Bread PH. Afterwards, workshop host and organizer Sona Roy of the Shanti Institute of Ayurveda gave a lecture on Ayurveda, along with Dr. Gibsy Sanjeevi George.

Dr. George graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor on Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in India. He specializes in treating bone and joint diseases, rheumatism, low back pain, spondylosis, paralysis and stroke, as well as cases in pediatrics, dermatology and psychiatry.

Sana Roy hosted the cooking workshop proper.


Cooking demos

Roy and Herrera hosted the cooking workshop proper with the participation of the guest of honor himself, Indian ambassador Shambhu Kumaran. “In a sense this is a country and culinary engagement between India and the Philippines,” Kumaran said. “Because the pandemic has eased, it is imperative that you do not let agenda of health and wellness slip at the same time. What we want to do from India is to share our civilization heritage of approaching health and wellness, which is the system of Ayurveda.”

The Indian ambassador obliged with a demo on cooking dosa, a thin and savory pancake or crepe traditionally made of fermented rice and lentils batter. He used the batter prepared by Roy that was made of ground millets and lentils, soaked and then allowed to ferment for 24 hours (thus containing probiotics).

“This 2023 is the International Year of Millets, as declared by the United Nations,” Kumaran pointed out. “Millets are supergrains. They are widely consumed in India. They are rich in fiber and nutrients. The best thing is they’re less strenuous to the environment to grow.”

He then scooped a ladleful of batter, poured it into a hot flat pan called dosa tawa and spread around to form a pancake. “We usually fill it with vegetables fillings we call masala,” he explained. “In India, masala dosa is very popular as a morning dish. Nowadays, increasingly all throughout the day. It is accompanied by a vegetable stew with turmeric, chili and other spices called sambal.” When his soda cooked, he announced, “I’m privileged to launch today a very special dish I personally call Manila Millet Masala.”

Some of the participants in the workshop took turns in making their own dosa before proceeding to cooking the next dishes: Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk and Crispy Fried Fish, as well as three vegetable side dishes.

After partaking on their finished products, they went on learning from Herrera’s lecture on dinacharya in Ayurveda, which refers to the daily activities people have to do to stay healthy. They then started making the dishes Monggo Kitchari and Millet Roti, as well as the drink Haldi Doodh, also called Turmeric Milk and Golden Latte.

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